This post originally appeared in The National Interest and was published on January 21, 2019. A portion has been re-published below, and the article in its entirety can be found here.
TAIPEI — Those focusing on whether China can sink a U.S. aircraft carrier or lob missiles at Guam are missing the larger problem. And it is not about the tragic loss of a democratic friend in Asia.
The nightmare is how the strategic landscape will radically change if China controls Taiwan, either by political or brutal force.
China views Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines as one long wall. Bud Cole, the celebrated specialist on Chinese naval issues, dubbed it the “The Great Wall at Sea” for good reason. Insurmountable in geographic terms; with no line of sight for its aircraft, let alone navy, Beijing has no other choice but to take Taiwan.
Taiwan’s central mountain range runs the length of the island with heights ranging from nine thousand to twelve thousand feet. This is the problem China faces in its efforts to project force into the Pacific. The Chinese air force must fly around Taiwan, the navy must sail through the Japanese-controlled Ryukyu Islands chain that stretches from Japan to Taiwan, and mainland’s ground-based radar cannot peek over Taiwan.
What would a post –invasion Taiwan look like?
Read the rest of the article here.